Men's spring preview: West Coast Conference

Men's spring preview: West Coast Conference

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Men's spring preview: West Coast Conference

Who would have thought five or six years ago that St. Mary’s would be a team of prominence not only within the West Coast Conference, but on the national scale as well? Yet, that’s exactly where the program is today.

In his 12 years as head coach of the Gaels, Scott Hardy has slowly developed the roots and nurtured a tree of success.

The Gaels won the WCC title last season before finishing seventh at their NCAA Regional which left them two spots shy of qualifying for the NCAA finals. They ended the season No. 35 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings.

That success certainly has carried over into the current season and makes St. Mary’s the team to beat within the conference.

The program may not have the history, tradition and past success as many of the nation’s golfing powers or even of the likes of WCC foes BYU and Pepperdine, but it now is one to be reckoned with.

The Gaels finished in the top five in each of their five fall starts, including a victory in their own event, and will carry a No. 29 ranking into the spring season. They rolled up a 55-8 overall record.

Senior Ben Geyer leads this talented squad. The 2012 Northern California Golf Association Player of the Year, finished the fall ranked 33rd after posting six top-15 showings with a win at the St. Mary’s tournament.

Still, before that WCC championship trophy is handed out on April 17, you can bet the likes of San Francisco, San Diego and BYU will have a say so in who takes it home.

Those three teams, like St. Mary’s, finished the fall with winning records and each showed some firepower at times. They’ll be chasing the Gaels, that’s for sure, but they certainly have what it takes catch them.

And if you’re looking for a darkhorse in the WCC, keep an eye on Santa Clara. The Broncos just might surprise some of their conference foes before all is said and done.

What it boils down do is a tight race for the league championship and St. Mary’s will be the major roadblock for all those in the running.

• • •

Where it stands now

Top of the class: St. Mary’s

Best player this fall: Ben Geyer, St. Mary’s

• • •

Past champions

2008 San Diego

2009: San Francisco

2010: Pepperdine

2011: San Francisco

2012: St. Mary’s

• • •

Conference capsules

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